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Old Paper: Agfa

Perhaps a little too encouraged by my experience with the Negra Portrene paper I purchased more 16x20" paper this time from Agfa and was assured by the seller it had been frozen in a professional lab. A partial open envelope of 10 sheets of VC FB paper and an unopened box of VC RC paper.

Of course I cut the FB paper down first into 8x10 pieces and test strips and proceeded to print some photos from our recent trip to Cornwall. I was disappointed as even on the test strip it was obvious the paper was badly fogged. The best print I show below. The border which shows as gray should be white. I had recently made up some potassium ferrocyanide solution and tried touching up the white areas to redeem the photo but it still lacks contrast and is dull. Also the fogging was mottled and inconsistent. So much for refrigerated paper.

Agfa FB VC Paper

I next did the same with the RC paper, It too suffered from fogging. The following was the best print I got from it. Developing with BZT added did not help noticeably either.

Agfa RC VC Paper
I also make a print on the RC paper which was 1 stop over exposed (darker) and I decided to experiment with that to remove some of the fogging. I would start with the overexposed print and beach it back till the fogged areas were whiter. Since the darker areas are over exposed (too dark) they should lighten in proportion roughly. The technique probably means I will have a difficult time achieving maximum black however. Never-the-less I was interested to understand the theory even if I did not like the results. I cut the photo in two and bleached one half and left the other as it was. I diluted the stock solution 1+9 as the stock solution bleaches very rapidly. It took several minutes of agitation but eventually the fog came down enough. The following is the result which is better than the original by a long shot. I cannot say this is worth the trouble however as the time is quite long and the blacks are likely attenuated as I mentioned before.
Bleached vs unbleached versions of the fogged print
There are many who say the economy of using old paper is false. This certainly proves it. I am happy with my Portrene experience and some others ( I have a lot of Oriental Seagull that is just fine.) My interest extends beyond the economical and so I take my enjoyment from the experience.